PHILIPPINES: Expectation vs Reality

PHILIPPINES: Expectation vs Reality


When I was 15, I had my whole life mapped out.

I’d be married by 25. Within a couple of years, I’d have a daughter, and then a son.

When I hit 30, I’d go back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. By then, I should have already gotten enough writing experience, and gone through enough life experiences, for me to be able to fully appreciate the program. Then I’d go on to publish my first novel before hitting 40.

I was a little girl with big dreams who grew into a teenager with a plan.


In a few days, I will turn 33.

True to my expectation, I have indeed gotten married, but that didn’t happen until I was 28. The baby came first, when I was 23. And I had a son. I have no daughter, but that’s fine. I’m enjoying being mom to a boy.

My pot of life experiences is filling up fast, which is great because that means that life has been great. My writing resume isn’t too shabby. I know for sure that I’d be able to appreciate the Creative Writing Master’s program that I’m gunning for, if only I could afford it.

One thing that I failed to consider when I was 15 was how much it would actually cost to send a child to school, and how expensive a Master’s Education can be.

And then, there are all of these other things.

At 15, I had no idea how hard it was to be married. I didn’t know what it meant to meet halfway. I thought that there would always be a clear winner in each argument. I didn’t think that not going to bed angry could mean tearful discussions that would last until 3:00 in the morning.

I didn’t have a clue that parenting would be as challenging as I now know it to be. I thought that it would be so cute to have two children who are close in age, just like my brother and I. I didn’t realize that having one child is challenging enough already. I had no idea that I would someday find myself at the receiving end of eye-rolling and snide remarks that just happen to sound a whole lot like my 10-year old self.

I believed back then that if you were good at something it wouldn’t be difficult to find a job in your desired field. I never thought about how much of success comes from actual hard work, that luck actually plays a huge part in it all, and that being easy to work with sometimes matters more than what you can actually do.

I went from being a naïve teenager with a plan to becoming an adult with (at least a little bit of) wisdom.

I’ve learned a lot about life in between my 15th and 33rd birthdays.

I know that you should always expect the unexpected. And I mean, always. Life is full of curve balls and somewhere along the way things won’t go as planned.

I believe that the trick is to keep moving forward, and to always look on the bright side of life even when there seems to be no bright side. I understand now that the tough times are there to make the good ones shine even brighter.

Our hearts can handle infinite amounts of heartache brought about by people whom we truly care about. I know this for sure. I also know that these same people, if they love us as much as we love them, will be the same ones to mend those little breaks in our hearts.

I may have proven my teenage-self wrong on many different counts, but I do still believe in dreaming big dreams and planning for the life that we want for ourselves.

We may not be able to accomplish all that we want to do within the deadlines we set for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Things may not happen the way we want them to all the time, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop working on becoming the person we’ve always known we could be.

In spite of it all, and despite life’s struggles, the one thing that we ought to do is never give up on ourselves.

Based on the plan I had set for myself all those years ago, I still have seven years to get that book out. How that will go remains to be seen…!

How has your expectation differed from your reality? Are you close to where you thought you would be at this time of your life?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Mrs. P. Cuyugan. Photo credit: Jurgen P. Appelo. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

Patricia Cuyugan (Philippines)

Patricia Cuyugan is a wife, mom, cat momma, and a hands-on homemaker from Manila, whose greatest achievement is her pork adobo. She has been writing about parenting for about as long as she’s been a parent, which is just a little over a decade. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her reading a book, binge-watching a K-drama series, or folding laundry. She really should be writing, though! Follow her homemaking adventures on Instagram at @patriciacuyugs. 

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EGYPT: Finding Inner Peace in Challenging Times

EGYPT: Finding Inner Peace in Challenging Times

World Mom, Nihad, is a life coach in Alexandria, Egypt at Aurora Beams Life Coaching. Today, she is on the blog helping moms around the world find their inner peace when times get tough through some tips she learned from a recent webinar with life coach, Mary Allen.

Sit back, take a deep breath in, and read…

Hello, World Moms!

“How easy can you find your inner peace in challenging times?”

Do you find that you “lose it” when things get tough? That finding your center is impossible when things don’t go as planned? Maybe the kids are fighting. Or the bills are higher than you expected. Or the world news is getting to you. Or something else is burdening your mind.

Well, get out your pens and paper! I have some questions for you further in the post that I recently learned to help you find the calm when the boat is rocked. I’m your life coach today, and we’ve got this.

2015 WMB Quote Inner Peace Nihad

In the past, balancing my demanding career as a software engineer with all the other commitments a working woman and mother has, I know very well that finding inner peace in challenging times is not so easy. With a busy schedule at work and at home and with deadlines to meet and projects’ plans to complete inner peace is a very far away destination to reach, especially when we don’t have any tools for support.

Why do we need to find inner peace?

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make inner peace with ourselves.” Dalai Lama

According tho this quote, it’s not only about how we feel inside. Our relationship with the outer world, as well, is affected by how peaceful we are in the inside. So, we need to find our inner peace first to live in peace with all of our surroundings.

I can feel inner peace when I am alone, away from all kinds of noise and distractions as a busy mom, but in challenging times I know very well that finding inner peace is hard for me.

It also depends on the kind of challenges I am facing and working to overcome. I also found that I need to be clear about what inner peace means to me. I simply consider the definition of inner peace, or peace of mind, as the opposite of being stressed or anxious. In very challenging situations, I lose my inner peace, become so stressed and sometimes helpless. There have been times when I found myself yelling at the kids most of the time, and I felt bad about myself after that.

What helped me is gaining clarity and awareness about the situation that I was stressed about. For me, it was the demands of working as a software engineer paired with the demands of raising my children.

Woman Meditating

Six Questions to Help You Find Inner Peace

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a webinar that was discussing how we can regain our inner peace in challenging times. The facilitator discussed how answering 6 key questions in any challenging situation can bring us closer to inner peace. Do you have your pens out? I’m about to take you through her questions, so jot down your answers!

1.What is the reality about the situation?

Naming what exactly is going on in simple statements is the first step to gain clarity.

 2.What am I resisting?

Stress is definitely due to some kind of internal resistance. It can be resistance of change because of fear of unknown. Change takes us to ambiguous results and the fear of these results creates resistance. It can be resistance of taking action. It will be different for everyone. Do you know what it is for you?

And, “What if I continue resisting?

Figuring out what you may be continuing to resist and where this resistance will take us is another way to gain clarity.

3.What can I appreciate?

Creating a sense of gratitude to help figure out what positive side there is in the challenging situation is key. It may be strengthening our will power, stretching our comfort zone, allowing us to discover more about our capabilities and strengths.

4.What are my options?

In any situation we have several options to consider. We may think that we don’t have any choices, but actually, if we think deeply we will find some options. Just knowing we are able to choose makes us feel in control, which brings us closer to feeling peaceful.

5.What will I consciously choose?

At the end, it is up to us to consciously choose one of the options we have created for ourselves in this self-survey. It is an option of our own, not suggested or imposed by anybody. This can make you feel more in control. This sense of freedom can also attribute to helping us regain our inner peace.

We’ve gotten there together, but really, you’ve done all the work. Take a deep breath again. Now, how do you feel?

These questions are from the “5 Keys to Inner Peace NOW” checklist built by Mary Allen, America’s Inner Peace Coach. I believe these questions can be very helpful to figure out what is stressing us out and what to do to feel peaceful, even in hard times.

Do you have any other tools or experience with finding your inner peace in challenging times?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at  Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image courtesy of “Middle Aged Woman Doing Meditation” by stockimages,



Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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